|Thingspeoplesay @ Etsy|
Something alarmed me in the Sunday papers this weekend – an article that condemned fruit as a dietary evil. Now I know there's been a backlash against sugar recently, but fruit – seriously? My mum has a rockin' bod for her 52 years. And she eats fruit. A lot of fruit. She's living, breathing proof that fruit alone won't make you fat. So I was so glad to read that nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan was equally alarmed....
First up it’s nonsense to talk about sugar as being the root of all our health problems. We cannot talk about sugar as a singular compound in the same way that we can’t lump fat together, or carbs for that matter. Sugars are simply the single or double saccharides that are found in foods, mostly plant foods.
One sugar, glucose, is also what runs in our bloodstream as a key fuel for the body. The brain in particular uses about a quarter of the total body’s glucose use, despite being only two percent of the total body weight.
Glucose in the blood is vital… if it drops too low you would pass out and eventually die if glucose could not be ‘found’. It’s worth remembering that when we talk about sugar. We need it as a prime fuel in the body, along with fat. So what about sugar in foods?
Well there is no doubt that excess added sugars are contributing to obesity and many chronic health problems we face in this country. But added refined sugars are not the same as sugars naturally present in foods. In interpreting them as so we are making all the same mistakes we made when we entered the low fat era. We opted for low fat foods and forgot about healthy fats and whole foods.
With the proposition that fruits are bad because they contain sugar, we are doing the same thing. Sugars in fruit are bound up in cell walls along with fibre, nutrients and phytochemicals including antioxidants. Our bodies have to work fairly hard to break these cells down, release the nutrients and sugars and then absorb them. This is a very different scenario to eating a lolly or drinking a soft drink – a dose of sugar without any nutrients or fibre whatsoever. To put them in the same basket is quite frankly ludicrous.
Fruit juice is not the same as fruit – it's all the sugar with none of the fibre-y good stuff. Dried fruit is not the same as fruit – it's shrivelled up, sweet and easy to overconsume. But a full green apple? That's not responsible for this country's obesity epidemic.